The benefit to proper ventilation is better indoor air quality and an HRV (heat recovery ventilator) or ERV (energy recovery ventilator) is the most energy efficient way to accomplish this.The complete ventilation system must be properly selected, installed and operated. The optimum way to ventilate is to supply just the right amount of fresh air continuously all year round and to continuously exhaust an equal amount of stale indoor air. The one exception is when windows or doors are opened as a means of ventilating. There is no advantage in over-ventilating a home; this would dry out the air in your house in the cold seasons and use excessive amounts of electrical energy.
During the heating seasons, heat is transferred from the warm indoor exhaust air into the cold outdoor supply air inside the HRV heat exchanger. The ERV heat exchanger not only transfers this heat, but transfers some of the moisture in the more humid exhaust air into the less humid supply air. This heat/energy transfer means that your home heating system uses less when compared to any other form of ventilation.
During the cooling seasons the process depends whether or not you are exhausting air conditioned air. If you are not air conditioning the indoor air, ventilation is generally accomplished by opening windows and turning off the air exchanger.
If you are air conditioning the indoor air, heat is transferred from the warm/hot outdoor supply air into the cool indoor exhaust air inside the HRV heat exchanger, thus reducing the temperature of the fresh air coming in. The ERV heat exchanger not only transfers this heat but transfers some of the moisture in the more humid supply air into the less humid exhaust air, thus reducing the humidity of the fresh air coming in.
This heat/energy transfer means that your house cooling system uses less energy when compared to any other form of ventilation. This transfer of heat or energy is accomplished with very little or no mixing of the 2 air streams, meaning the pollutants are exhausted and the heat/energy is recovered.
The only maintenance is to periodically wash the air exchanger filters (exhaust and supply). The frequency of cleaning depends on the condition of the indoor and outdoor environments. Start by checking the filters every 3 months, if they are not dirty, then wait another 3 months.